How to grieve. There’s been numerous books written on the subject. There’s been thousands, no millions of people who have experienced it and even helped others through it. But as grieving mother Jennifer Ruef poignantly puts it,

In the years since Edison died, I have asked myself “What if?” and “Why?” If only we hadn’t gone out that day. If I had not tried to progress him from his feeding tube to regular foods. I have sought book after book trying to find an instruction manual on how to grieve. It doesn’t feel like I am doing it right. It doesn’t get better. It gets worse.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross famously wrote about the stages of dying and grieving. I studied them often as a social work student. I worked with grieving families. I thought I understood grief.

Now I realize that was like thinking you understand water because you’ve been to a lake. And then you go to the ocean. I have Denied, been Angry, Bargained and have been Depressed. There is also an A, Acceptance. At least, she said there is.

From the article on A Mother’s Grief

The family unexpectedly lost their 6 year old son Edison in 2011 not long before he would have started school. Now their younger son Donovan has reached that same milestone and she is finding it even harder than she could ever have imagined. Baby brother is now forever surpassing older brother. It’s the little things that you don’t think about that suddenly make you catch your breath. It doesn’t matter how much training, how much reading, how much experiencing through others pain you go through. It doesn’t seem to change how impossibly hard, how tortuously painful the experience is.

While I might not be able to imagine accurately what a person going through this truly feels, and let’s face it, I really don’t want to, it doesn’t stop us from being kind. It doesn’t stop us from choosing to be patient and understanding, even if we don’t quite understand.

So, two boys age 6 have taught their mommy many lessons. Most of all they have taught me that your heart can smile and break all at one time and will do so daily.

My heart is just beginning to heal. But while still broken, I will smile for Donovan. I will smile for Edison. I will smile that my grief journey has been mine, and not like those written in books. I may not be doing it correctly, I may be doing it for too long, but like my children, I am doing it with everything I have.

And somewhere in the middle of it all, the healing begins. Tiny and almost insignificant, but it starts. And with a little nurturing it grows. Although your life can never be the same again, you slowly begin to live again.


©2015 JFries/Rise Like Air

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